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This piece was originally published on Defector on March 24, 2021.
I am 44 years old, which means that I have lived long enough for certain famous people to die and for other famous people—even children!—to age. That means I’m a ripe target for the DON’T YOU FEEL OLD?! genre of content farming that Buzzfeed initially built its entire business model around. You would have thought that this gag(?) had run its course by now. My friend, you are tragically mistaken. It’s still here, and it absolutely sucks.
Hard to believe that people continue to lead lives, but indeed they do. I’ve fallen for this shit many, many times. I’ve even contributed to the problem. Whenever I see an NFL player whose father I ALSO saw play in the NFL? Oh, you better believe I got a tweet for that.
Meanwhile, Randy Moss is my age. His son is a mere seven years older than my oldest kid. Of course he’s got a kid in the NFL already, as do Antoine Winfield, Ed McCaffrey, Steve Jordan, and Mark Ingram, with Patrick Surtain adding to the tally next season. And yet, I’ll see the progeny of any famous ’90s athlete for the first time and be like NO ONE TOLD ME THESE PEOPLE’S CHILDREN WERE ALLOWED TO GROW!
You wanna know the only thing that’s older than you? It’s using pop culture to talk about how old you and/or other people are. That is the oldest shit. The lowest form of conversation. I know that the internet moves at the speed of idiocy and that time can feel elastic, particularly during the year we all just experienced. But time is also definite. You learn about it in school, if not earlier. Fuck man, I taught my kids to read a clock using a board book: seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years. Unless the Earth decides to shift orbits like it’s merging onto the Beltway, all of those measurements are set. They’re not changing. They’ve never changed over the course of mankind’s existence. Time doesn’t move faster just for you. You’re not special.
And yet I gotta hear chirpy fuckheads like that guy from the Ringer up there measuring time solely by whether or not a kid from fucking Disney can grow facial hair now. It’s not even genuine. It’s just a cheap way for aging people to try to differentiate themselves from all the BAD old people. So some young people grew up. That’s how it fucking works! Don’t act like you don’t know that. Were you not a child yourself,before you grew old enough to earn a paycheck from Bill Simmons’s nostalgia-industrial complex? Did you not notice there’s hair on your body where there once wasn’t hair? Do you need a fucking butler to strike a triangle at your bedside every morning and screen The Father for you to remind you that you no longer attend middle school?
I have three kids of my own, and they make me well aware of my age every day. I look my mileage now, in fact. The babyface that used to get me carded when I was over 21 is gone. I have salt and pepper hair. I have ear wrinkles, which are the dagger wrinkles. NO ONE in this house gets my Python references. I’m older now, and I look it. And guess what? It’s fucking AWESOME. I’m smarter and I have more money than I did when I was 18. I have better taste in food. I read. When I wear a suit, I actually look like a professional and not a little boy heading out to a choir recital. I don’t have to sculpt my identity around whether or not I still like some awful kids’ movie like fucking Space Jam. I tell better stories. I can win trivia battles because I know who Prince Fielder’s dad is. And when I look at the front page of a newspaper, I actually understand it. Being older RULES.
And the old people who know, or at least SHOULD know, don’t waste their time trying to go viral off the most absolutely commonplace, natural phenomenon of time passing. If that’s all you’ve got to offer the world at this point, then you have nothing to offer it at all. You wanna try to shame yourself and the rest of us for aging because you’re blown away seeing what Topanga from Boy Meets World is up to today? How fucked are we as a people if working professionals online act like they can’t handle photographic evidence of things changing? I CAN’T BELIEVE MACAULAY CULKIN IS OLD ENOUGH TO HAVE SEX WITH MILA KUNIS! THIS IS A DEATH SENTENCE! Grow the fuck up. Everyone else has.